Straight-sighted dude

December 24th, 2006
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“These radios have a range of, like, 20 clicks [km], but only in, like, a straight line.” – Overheard on the Lake Louise gondola on December 23.

This gentleman was either a radio-physicist intimately with the refraction, reflection and other quirky behaviour of certain radio waves. Or he was just a bit out of it. Normally radio waves don’t travel down the circuitous route that one used to, say, drive to the ski hill.

What he meant was that those small, hand-held, unlicensed radios, popularized by Motorola and now built by a dozen or more manufacturers, require a direct line-of-sight to maintain their signal over any distance. The radio waves will travel in a straight line regardless, but without line-of-sight will simply run into the nearest mountain and be absorbed.

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